International Wine Challenge: 2019 Trophy winners

The International Wine Challenge, a British-based wine challenge has revealed its 2019 Trophy winners.

 The Process
Several hundred sommeliers and industry professionals blind-taste over 13,000 entries in three tasting rounds during a two-week period. The wines which score 85 points and over, in the initial round, advance to the second round, where they are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. The third and final round is exclusively for the gold-medal winners, to assess which is the trophy winner of its class.

Here are some of the winners!

Four years in a row: Syrah Trophy win for New Zealand

New Zealand has been awarded the International Syrah Trophy for the fourth year in a row. The best Syrah has been named as Te Awanga Estate’s Trademark Syrah 2015, which won the Hawke’s Bay Syrah Trophy and International Syrah Trophy.  The Te Awanga Estate wine was also awarded the New Zealand Red Trophy, fighting off stiff competition from New Zealand’s world-famous Pinot Noirs.

IWC co-chair Peter McCombie MW said: “There isn’t much Syrah planted in New Zealand but what there is makes world-class wine. Stylistically closer to Rhone Valley than Barossa Valley, we expect New Zealand Syrah to have abundant fruit and remarkable freshness. Te Awanga, winner of the New Zealand Red Trophy, is a brilliant example of this style.”

Own-label supermarket wines 

Two supermarket own-label wines were awarded Trophies this year:

  • Waitrose Côtes de Provence Rosé 2018 won the Provence Rosé Trophy; and
  • Tesco took home the Amarone Trophy for its Cantina Valpantena’s Tesco Finest Amarone 2015.

Italy crowned Rosé champion

Provence may be the most famous rosé region in the world, but a Sicilian rosé made from Nerello Mascalese has been awarded the International Rosé Trophy. Torre Mora’s Scalunera Etna Rosato 2018 scored 96 points on its way to receiving both the Sicilian Rosé Trophy and the International Rosé Trophy.

Top Chardonnay

The top Chardonnay is from France’s Chablis region:

  • Domaine Christian Moreau’s Chablis Grand Cru les Clos 2017 won four Trophies – Chablis Grand Cru Trophy, White Burgundy Trophy, French White Trophy, and International Chardonnay Trophy.

Top Pinot Noir

  • France’s Burgundy region also produced the top Pinot Noir in the competition, Château de Santenay’s Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2017 which won the Clos du Vougeot Trophy, Red Burgundy Trophy and International Pinot Noir Trophy.

First red success for China

To celebrate the increase in quality from China, the IWC judging panel awarded a Chinese Red Trophy for the first time this year, with the top gong going to China Great Wall’s Five Star Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

Winemakers of the Year shortlist

The IWC has also announced the shortlist for its Winemaker of the Year 2019. The winner will be announced at the IWC 2019 Awards Dinner on July 9, 2019, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

The shortlist shows that the 2018 Winemakers of the Year in each category are putting up a strong fight to retain their titles (namely Hervé J. Fabre, Didier Séguier, Sergio Martínez, Cherie Spriggs, and Helmut Lang).

Shortlisted IWC Red Winemaker of the Year 2019

  • Bodegas Fabre – Hervé J. Fabre
  • Bird in Hand – Dylan Lee
  • Edouard Delaunay – Christophe Briotet
  • Wolf Blass – Chris Hatcher & Steven Frost

Shortlisted IWC White Winemaker of the Year 2019

  • La Chablisienne – Vincent Bartement
  • McGuigan – Neil McGuigan
  • William Fevre – Didier Séguier

Shortlisted IWC Fortified Winemaker of the Year 2019

  • Emilio Lustau – Sergio Martínez
  • Morris Wines – David Morris
  • González Byass – Antonio Flores

Shortlisted IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2019

  • Nyetimber – Cherie Spriggs
  • Charles Heidsieck – Cyril Brun
  • Domaine Chandon California – Pauline Lhote
  • Champagne Rare – Régis Camus

Shortlisted IWC Sweet Winemaker of the Year 2019

  • Weingut Helmut Lang – Helmut Lang
  • Hans Tschida – Hans Tschida
  • Weingut Horst Sauer – Horst & Sandra Sauer

IWC Own Label of the Year Shortlist 2019

  • Aldi
  • Berry Brothers & Rudd
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Tesco

Full list of awards found here:  www.internationalwinechallenge.com

CHAMPAGNE LANSON PARTNERS WITH LONDON’S ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Champagne Lanson has just announced that they are the new official Champagne of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

The Royal Shakespeare has over one million visitors each year and they will now be pouring Champagne Lanson’s exclusive Père et Fils as well as its Vintage Gold Label 2008, its Extra Age Brut NV and its popular Lanson Rose Label Brut Rosé NV in all of its bars and restaurants.

The company operates three theatres in the market town – The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Swan Theatre and The Other Place – as well as four bars and restaurants including Rooftop Restaurant, Susie’s Café Bar, Riverside Café and Swan Café.

Vicki Fleming, head of catering, Royal Shakespeare Company, commented: “We are delighted to announce that Champagne Lanson, one of the oldest holders of the Royal Warrant has become our new official Champagne partner. Producing some of the world’s finest Champagnes since 1760, Lanson is the perfect fit for us. The brand epitomizes quality, style and celebration so is perfect for our audiences.”

“Sold by the glass in every theatre bar, the delicious Lanson Père et Fils Brut NV is the perfect aperitif to complement a theatre visit, while a bottle of Lanson Gold Label Vintage 2008 goes wonderfully with a special event at our award-winning Rooftop Restaurant. Lanson Brut Rosé NV, Lanson Extra Age Brut NV and Lanson Gold Label Vintage 2008 will all feature on the Rooftop wine list”.

Paul Beavis, managing director of Champagne Lanson, added: “We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the Royal Shakespeare Company. It not only allows us to showcase our multi award-winning range of Champagne to its members; but we are also convinced that Lanson’s renowned freshness and added weight from extended aging ensures that our style of Champagne is also food-friendly.

“We are delighted that the Royal Shakespeare Company is able to showcase our range to its members and guests.”

World wine production reached a record of 292.3 mhl in 2018

World wine production reached a Record high in 2018 in a clear departure from the historically low production of 2017, but consumption stabilized, according to  Pau Roca, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) Director General in his presentation April 11, 2019

Global wine output for 2018 rose 17% to 292.3 million hectoliters (mhl) which was close to the exceptionally high level of 2004, driven by Italy, France, and Spain.  These three countries recording output at least 13% above their five-year averages states Roca.

Top performers:

Italy confirmed its position as the world’s largest producer with 54.8mhl, followed by France with 49.1mhl and Spain, which produced 44.4mhl.

In the US, wine production in 2018 increased by more than 0.5mhl compared with 2017, with production in Argentina growing 2.7mhl to reach 14.5mhl.

Chile recorded a 3.4mhl increase to reach 12.9mhl.

Declining:

Brazil saw its production fall to 3.1mhl in 2018.

South Africa produced 9.5mhl in 2018 – a 1.4mhl decrease compared with 2017 due to the impact of the drought.

Britain recorded a 3.1% drop in consumption to 12.3mhl, while mainland China recorded the biggest decrease in consumption among the world’s top 20 largest wine consumers, down 6.6% to 18mhl.

The slight decrease could be due to extreme weather in Europe, including drought and storms.

Stability:

Australian production remained stable, with 12.9mhl vinified. New Zealand produced 3.0mhl, an increase of 0.2mhl since 2017.

In terms of global consumption, 246mhl was consumed in 2018 compared with 246.7mhl in 2017, the OIV estimated, adding estimates were tentative due to limited data.

Global trade in 2018 increased slightly in terms of volume, with 108mhl traded; it also rose by 1.2% in terms of value, reaching €31.3 billion.

Wine exports in 2018 continued to be largely dominated by Spain, Italy, and France, which together accounted for more than 50% of the global market by volume, equating to 54.8mhl.

Spain continued to be the biggest exporter by volume with 20.9mhl, representing 19.4% of the global market. France was the biggest world exporter by value, with €9.3 billion exported in 2018.

Bottled wines made up 70% of the total value of wines exported in 2018. By value, sparkling wines accounted for 20% of the global market, despite representing just 9% of the total volume exported.

The OIV the total world area under vines at 7.4mha, which is almost equivalent to that of 2017.

Further Details
http://www.oiv.int/fr/vie-de-loiv/2923-millions-dhectolitres-la-production-mondiale-de-vin-atteint-un-record-en-2018

High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace

High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace – Liz Palmer

This traditional afternoon tea is surrounded by over 300 years of royal history.

A few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with my daughter and daughter-in-law devouring a lovely selection of finger sandwiches, tea cakes, scones, jam and clotted cream.  We chose the ever-popular Earl Grey Blue Flower tea and a flute of champagne to sip while overlooking the manicured gardens at Kensington Palace.

We all had a taste of what it’s like to be a royal!  Great experience and highly recommend it.

The History of Afternoon Tea

Prior to the introduction of high tea into Britain, the English had two main meals: breakfast and dinner. By the middle of the 18th century, dinner for the upper and middle classes had shifted from noon to an evening meal served at a fashionably late hour. This did not suit the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857). She seemed to suffer from ‘a sinking feeling’ at about four o’clock in the afternoon. At first, the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few bread stuffs but then began inviting friends to join her at five o’clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets and, of course, tea. The summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London and high tea was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

Champagne Sales 2018: Record High of €4.9 billion

Total volume of Champagne shipments declined by 1.8% in 2018 to 301.9 million bottles, with a total turnover reaching €4.9 billion – 0.3% higher than in 2017.

As reported by the Comité Champagne at Prowein today, exports of Champagne are on an upward trajectory, rising by 0.6% in volume and 1.8% in revenue.

In Champagne’s more traditional markets of France and the UK, which together account for 60% of total sales, volumes dropped by around 4% each, while by value turnover slipped by around 2% in both markets.

The UK market, which remains the largest export market by volume, imported 26.7m bottles in 2018, a decline of 3.6%, while value reached €406.2m, a drop of 2.2% – making it the second biggest export market by value after the USA.

However, demand is most dynamic beyond the European Union. The USA, which remains the biggest export market by value and second biggest by volume, saw exports rise by 2.7% to 23.7 million bottles. To Japan, exports increased by 5.5% to 13.6 million bottles, while exports to the “Chinese triangle” (mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) increased by 9.1% to 4.7 million bottles.

Following very significant growth over the past decade (+134%), Australia saw imports of Champagne dip slightly, by 1.8%, to 8.4m bottles, which was attributed to a “less favourable exchange rate”.

Other countries are emerging stronger for Champagne, including Canada which increased its imports by 4.8% to 2.3 million bottles, Mexico by 4.3% to 1.7m bottles, and South Africa, where sales topped the million-bottle mark for the very first time, recording growth of 38.4% by volume and by 43.4% by value – the highest increase of any market on both counts.

“The 2018 results validate the value creation strategy of the Champagne region, based on a continual pursuit of exceptional quality and rigorous environmental targets,” the Comité Champagne said. “From an agronomic point of view, 2018 was an unprecedented year with a bumper harvest of outstanding quality, boding extremely well for the future Champagne cuvées.”

Champagne shipments* over the past 10 years:

2018: 301.9m

2017: 307.3m

2016: 306.1m

2015: 313m

2014: 307m

2013: 305m

2012: 309m

2011: 323m

2010: 319m

2009: 293m

Source:  Drinks Business and Just Drinks